Nothing has meaning except for the meaning you give it.T Harv Eker
Since I have been sharing quite a bit about managing finances, I think it is time to talk about my money story. I have read countless stories about how people started managing finances better and saved heaps of money and lived happily ever after. I know I am smack bang in the middle. I think it is important to know and share the messy middles that come with these transitions.
Growing up in India, I had a very comfortable childhood. We weren’t rich but we always had enough. Money was never discussed with the kids but one thing that was clear was it was not to be wasted on unnecessary things but to be saved. We went out once a week for dinners, we bought new clothes for birthdays, special festivals. They always made sure our education was fully funded. I love my parents dearly and know that they were doing the best they could.
Once I graduated college, I moved to the US in my early 20s. A lot of students coming in, are already overwhelmed with student loans. I didn’t have any. I got a stipend for my studies and worked my way through with scholarships. The american lifestyle did get to me. I used this new found freedom to buy stuff off the internet like never before. It was quite easy to get the new Ipad, bought branded clothes. 3 years in I bought a new car. You would think I my income was crazy high. My stipend was $24000 USD per year. I was never in credit card debt but I wasn’t saving much either. I always kept a careful accounts about where my money was going and made sure I wasn’t going over. I met my husband there in the US, and we both graduated, and decided to move to Australia, for various reasons.
When we moved to Australia, We didn’t have full time jobs, and worked as casual and part time jobs to make the rent. My husband decided to go back to Uni. This is the first time we got a student loan. Once he graduated, we sat down and discussed our finances as a family for the first time. Firstly, We are really trying hard to be parents with minimum financial pressure before we have kids. There is already so much going on when people decide to become parents. I just didn’t want money to be an issue. Secondly, we decided that before we made any new big expenses, we pay off our loan.
We now both have full time jobs and a small side hustle income (which is now so much more than my little stipend was, we now probably spend less than half of our expenses then). We bought a car in full. We are saving full steam for our house deposit and trying to pay off our loan as quickly as possible. My mindset has changed a whole 180 degrees in the last 10 years. Now it is more about ‘Less is more’. Investing in experiences and not things. It has not been easy. We do get lured in to buy the new shiny things once in a while but we have learnt to stay focussed. We remind ourselves that we are doing this for our family and our future. We are currently on step 3 of our financial freedom. We won’t stop until we are all the way. We still have a long way to go.
Some books that have helped me make this pivot are, A Millionaire Mind by T Harv Eker, Barefoot investor by Scott Pape, and heaps of blog posts on financial management.
Share your money story with me, here in the comments or on instagram.